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Chris Rossdale Talk: Resisting Militarism

March 4, 2020
Senate Room, Queen's University Belfast
15:00 - 17:30

Dr. Chris Rossdale, University of Bristol joins us to talk to us about his new book Resisiting Militarism. This talk is a part of our 'Feminist Peace and Security' series. Rossdale's research sits at the intersection between international relations theory and the study of resistance, looking at the ways in which our understandings of international politics shift when we begin from the perspective of radical social movements. His major research programme to-date has looked at the ways in which anti-militarist social movements can help us rethink (and better resist) the concepts and politics of security and militarism. Rossdale has a particular interest in radical political theory (especially anarchism, poststructuralism. feminism and queer theory) and anti-militarist social movements.
About the book: An intimate study of the imaginative, subversive and often highly mischievous world of British anti-militarism. Rossdale draws on a range of critical traditions including poststructuralism, feminism, queer theory, postcolonialism and anarchism. Develops a new account of the nature and limits of militarism, as understood from the perspective of its opponents The book makes a case for the radical and ethical potential of prefigurative direct action.
In the past 15 years, anti-militarist activists in the UK have auctioned off a tank outside an arms fair, superglued themselves to Lockheed Martin’s central London offices and stopped a battleship with a canoe. They have also challenged militarism on an everyday level in many other ways. This book tells the story of their resistance. It explores why anti-militarists take part in such actions, considers the politics of different tactics and examines the tensions and debates within the movement. The book engages with groups including Campaign Against Arms Trade, Stop the Arms Fair, the Space Hijackers. Smash EDO and the Plowshares Movement.
As it explores the multifaceted, imaginative and highly subversive world of anti-militarism, the book also makes two overarching arguments. First, that anti-militarists can help us to understand militarism in novel and useful ways. And secondly, that the methods and ideas used by anti-militarists can be a potent force for radical political change.
About the artwork: pictured 'From Swords Into Plowshares' by John T. Young: The work is a testament not only to the power of ecologically sound practices but also a statement regarding the transformation of the implements of war into the beauty of art. Additionally, as the artist points out, the artwork "represents a significant amount of the national deficit being returned to the people for their enjoyment and appreciation."
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